Wi-fi in schools – Liberal Democrats outraged at committee recommendation changes

Haringey Liberal Democrats have expressed their outrage at the changes made to recommendations agreed by Haringey Council’s watchdog committee without the consent of its members.

The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee had agreed at the July 2nd meeting that the Council should recommend to schools that wireless internet access (Wi-fi) should be switched off prior to a formal consultation of parents and staff over its continued use.

However, despite the Committee’s decision, these proposals have now been watered down by the Chair of the committee to include only a recommendation advising schools to have a consultation at some future point and continue to use Wi-fi in the meantime. Lib Dem Overview and Scrutiny members are furious that they were not consulted and have demanded that the recommendations made by the Committee are reinstated.

Cllr Martin Newton, Lib Dem lead member on the Overview and Scrutiny committee, comments:

“It is a disgrace that the committee’s concerns about the use of Wi-fi in schools are being brushed aside in this way. This means Labour do not want parents and staff to have a proper say. This a real test for the credibility of scrutiny in Haringey.”

Cllr David Winskill, Lib Dem member on Overview and Scrutiny, adds:

“This is an utterly contemptuous move by the Chair of the committee. Councillors all agreed that the recommendations made on 2nd July 2007 should go to the Cabinet to consider. To change the recommendations to something that the committee did not agree is totally unacceptable. The committee’s decisions have basically been entirely re-written behind the scenes. It’s a complete disregard of the scrutiny function of the Council.”